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HomeNewsArchivesMEETING TO FOCUS ON FIGHTING BARGE FERRY FARES

MEETING TO FOCUS ON FIGHTING BARGE FERRY FARES

Dec. 3, 2001 – A group of St. John residents is concerned that the governor's veto on Saturday won't be the last they hear of a bill requiring that everyone traveling in vehicles on barges crossing Pillsbury Sound pay for ferry tickets as well the barge fare.
To discuss the matter and plan strategy, they are holding a public meeting at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 11 at the Legislature Building on St. John.
Steve Black, the primary organizer of the meeting, said charging ferry fares for barge passengers constitutes restraint of trade. "This special-interest legislation could have far-reaching effects financially and for services for St. John," he said. He said he plans to invite Government House representatives and senators to hear what residents have to say on the matter.
Senate President Almando "Rocky" Liburd, who introduced the bill, did not return several telephone calls Monday seeking comment.
Sen. Roosevelt David, a co-sponsor of the bill, said Monday he will attend the meeting to hear what residents have to say. Both David and Liburd indicated earlier that they had intended for the legislation to allow the driver and one passenger in vehicles aboard barges to be exempt from paying the ferry fare, which is $6 round trip for those 12 and older.
However, that compromise doesn't fly with Black. There should be no requirement that a person pay for a service not received, he said.
Residents have already let the Senate know what they think of the idea of making barge passengers buy ferry tickets. In July of 1998, at a meeting called by Liburd, more than 50 people turned out to express vehement opposition to the idea. That meeting came after the Public Services Commission had ruled that the driver and one passenger should be exempt from paying the ferry fare. The PSC ruling was rescinded, and residents thought the entire matter of ferry fares for barge customers was dead until the recent Senate vote on the matter became public last week.
There was no public hearing on ferry ticket issue, which was approved in the Rules Committee as an amendment to a bill extending the ferry companies' exclusive franchise to 50 years from 30. The bill as passed also would give the companies — Transportation Services of St. John and Varlack Ventures — 100 percent tax exemptions for the remainder of the franchise, which took effect in 1986.
The Senate approved the bill unanimously on Nov. 8. Gov. Charles W. Turnbull vetoed it on Saturday. A two-thirds vote is required in the Senate to override a veto. David said Saturday he would not push for an override. The other co-sponsor of the bill was Sen. Donald "Ducks" Cole.

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Dec. 3, 2001 - A group of St. John residents is concerned that the governor's veto on Saturday won't be the last they hear of a bill requiring that everyone traveling in vehicles on barges crossing Pillsbury Sound pay for ferry tickets as well the barge fare.
To discuss the matter and plan strategy, they are holding a public meeting at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 11 at the Legislature Building on St. John.
Steve Black, the primary organizer of the meeting, said charging ferry fares for barge passengers constitutes restraint of trade. "This special-interest legislation could have far-reaching effects financially and for services for St. John," he said. He said he plans to invite Government House representatives and senators to hear what residents have to say on the matter.
Senate President Almando "Rocky" Liburd, who introduced the bill, did not return several telephone calls Monday seeking comment.
Sen. Roosevelt David, a co-sponsor of the bill, said Monday he will attend the meeting to hear what residents have to say. Both David and Liburd indicated earlier that they had intended for the legislation to allow the driver and one passenger in vehicles aboard barges to be exempt from paying the ferry fare, which is $6 round trip for those 12 and older.
However, that compromise doesn't fly with Black. There should be no requirement that a person pay for a service not received, he said.
Residents have already let the Senate know what they think of the idea of making barge passengers buy ferry tickets. In July of 1998, at a meeting called by Liburd, more than 50 people turned out to express vehement opposition to the idea. That meeting came after the Public Services Commission had ruled that the driver and one passenger should be exempt from paying the ferry fare. The PSC ruling was rescinded, and residents thought the entire matter of ferry fares for barge customers was dead until the recent Senate vote on the matter became public last week.
There was no public hearing on ferry ticket issue, which was approved in the Rules Committee as an amendment to a bill extending the ferry companies' exclusive franchise to 50 years from 30. The bill as passed also would give the companies -- Transportation Services of St. John and Varlack Ventures -- 100 percent tax exemptions for the remainder of the franchise, which took effect in 1986.
The Senate approved the bill unanimously on Nov. 8. Gov. Charles W. Turnbull vetoed it on Saturday. A two-thirds vote is required in the Senate to override a veto. David said Saturday he would not push for an override. The other co-sponsor of the bill was Sen. Donald "Ducks" Cole.